Theological & Biblical Writings
Some thoughts on what the dominion mandate means for us today, as the people of God.
A series of three brief articles designed to alert the church to the Kingdom of God on earth.
We live in a world where truth is constantly trampled under foot. In a world of political correctness, those who maintain the Biblical divisions between truth vs. falsehood and good vs. evil are despised and accused of being everything from divisive to intolerant. It is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain Biblical categories of thought in a world where religious knowledge is seen as having no relevance to the external world and ‘faith’ has been recast to relate merely to the private world of an individual’s consciousness. These are some of the problems I am seeking to address in my ongoing series of ‘truth talks.’
In this talk I challenged all Christians to reject one of the fundamentals of postmodernism, which is to deconstruct all metanarratives. I explain what a metanarrative is and why postmodernism has been so anxious to eradicate them from our existence. Finally, I show how God has His own metanarrative – one which we are invited to play a part.
This is the text for a talk I gave after reading of N. T. Wright’s The Challenge of Jesus. As the title of my talk suggests, I have dealt with the nature of Christ’s injunction to ‘repent and believe.’ By understanding what this would have meant to a 1st century Jewish audience, a nuance is gained which is overlooked by the traditional interpretation of this phrase.
This is text for a sermon I preached on Ephesians 2:19-22. I have outlined the historical and theological background of the temple, in order that, as believers, we may more fully appreciate the Pauline injunction to be and to build God’s temple.
This essay is a brief exegetical study of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, the passage often cited as a proof text for the, so called, ‘rapture’ event. A careful look at the context, as well as the original Greek, reveal that ‘meeting the Lord in the air’ is actual a reference to resurrection and has nothing to do with a ‘rapture.’
Christ was resurrected in order that those who believe in Him might also be resurrected. But what does this mean in practice? In this essay I have sought to answer that question by exploring the New Testament’s teaching on the new body. The conclusion, though thoroughly orthodox, nevertheless challenges some popular models of salvation – models which have tended to minimize the importance of the physical body.
This is a talk I gave on how Sunday gradually usurped the function of Saturday in being the Sabbath.
This is the text of a sermon I preached. The sermon begins by consideration how sin disintegrates things that, in God’s original design, existed in a state of wholeness. I consider how this is true with regard to the separation between matter and spirit. First I look at this in relation to the human body, considering how matter and spirit will be reconciled in the resurrection body. Then I explore how matter and spirit will be reconciled in creation as a whole. This last point has implications on the central importance of matter to the Christian faith.
This series of Bible studies seeks to present an overview of God's purposes as outworked in Biblical history, drawing on historiographical and cultural information to illuminate the context of the Biblical narratives. Starting from Genesis and working through systematically to the hope of a new earth found in the Pauline corpus, I explore how the theme of God's Kingdom is developed, finding its fulfilment in the new covenant of Christ.
This Bible study begins with the creation of mankind. By exploring the function of ‘images’ in ancient near eastern culture, insight is gained into God’s plan for man and His plan for the world. We find that God’s plan is for the numerical expansion and geographical dominion of His images, in order that He may be glorified.
This Bible study explores the effect that sin had on mankind as God’s image. Mankind still has a responsibility to act as God’s image, though he is now a defaced image. We also see the promise of redemption given to Eve at this time.
Emphasis is placed on the continuity of God’s plan and the role that covenants play in the outworking of that plan. Information is given concerning the cultural and political significance of covenants in this culture.
This Bible study looks at how the covenant with Noah relates to the themes already seen, in particularly the responsibility for numerical expansion and geographical dominion already given to Adam.
God’s plan continues with the formation of a second covenant, this time the covenant with Abraham. The significance of this covenant is shown by considering the events of Genesis 15 in light of their cultural context.
When God made his covenant with Abraham, He gave certain promises to Abraham and his descendants. I explore how the promise to make a mighty nation from Abraham relates to the purposes of God we have already seen.
The covenant with Moses built on the foundation of the covenants already made with Abraham and Noah. God is now in a covenant relationship with a nation, and this raises many important issues that are explored in these Bible studies.
The purpose of the Israelite nation is implicated in the idea of God considering them His firstborn. Attention is given to the function of the firstborn in Ancient Near Eastern culture, with the conclusion drawn that Israel was meant to be the firstfruits of all the nations.
Consideration is given to the Ancient Near Eastern concept of kingship. In short, each nation believed that their god was supreme above all other gods and would demonstrate that supremacy through the dominance of his favored nation. Attention is given to how this concept permeates Biblical literature and how the Lord promises to give worldwide dominion to His nation.
The notion of a Kingdom becomes explicit in the covenant with David. God identifies His Kingdom with a specific human dynasty. Some attention is given to what happened to this Kingdom historically when David’s descendants fell into disobedience.
This Bible study looks at what the prophets wrote to the people of Israel and Judah about a new covenant that God promised to make with His people. The Lord promises to renew the earth, to establish His people a praise throughout the earth and to use His people to convert the nations.
The prophecies of Daniel are briefly considered in this same regard, with particular emphasis on the hope these prophecies gave the people of Israel.
The theological climate of 1st century Judaism is explained. The people of Judah were expecting the Messiah to come and give them the worldwide dominion the prophets had promised while their hearts were far from the Lord.
John the Baptist prepares the way for the Messiah, but his message is offensive to the Jews.
Jesus comes and preaches the Kingdom of God. We can only understand how revolutionary Jesus’ message was by understanding that message in light of the backdrop already explained. Jesus offers the firstfruits of the Kingdom and promises to establish it later in full. Jesus’ parables, miracles and moral teaching are all linked to this theme.
Jesus’ crucifixion and the events just preceding it are explored in terms of the Passover symbolism. This gives us a context for understanding the changing conditions for covenant membership. No longer is one a member of the covenant community based on physical ancestry, but through faith in Christ.
Attention is given to the significance of Christ’s resurrection and the teaching He delivered afterward. Christ’s teaching shows that God’s purposes are directed towards the earth rather than heaven.
This Bible study goes through each of the Old Testament covenants, showing point by point how they are fulfilled in Christ.
Continuing with the approach of the previous Bible study, I seek to show how Christ’s fulfils the temple. Attention is also given to the eschatological aspects of the temple of living stones that is built on the foundation of Christ.
Attention is given to how the apostle Paul understood and expanded on some of these themes. Particular emphasis is given to Paul’s explanation of the role God’s people will play in bringing the nations to Christ during the Kingdom era.
Continuing with information from the Pauline corpus, consideration is given to the concept of resurrection and how this relates to God’s purpose for humanity. Appreciating the significance of the resurrection of the body is crucial to understanding the Kingdom message.
God promises not only to restore humanity but to restore the earth. Consideration is given to some of the practicalities of this, drawing on Romans 8 and related passages.
Attention is given to the practicalities of these messages, particularly in the believer’s daily life and the community of the church.
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